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Cold case indictment, arrest announced

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Aug 8, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla have announced the indictment of a Cleveland man on murder charges in connection with three homicides dating back to the 1970s.

On Wednesday, special prosecutors with the Attorney General's Special Prosecutions Section presented evidence to a Jefferson County Grand Jury, which returned a three-count indictment against Stanley Rusnak, 65, of Cleveland, Ohio.

Rusnak is now charged with three counts of murder in connection with the deaths of James Kelsie Noble and Sophie Groch Bell in April 1975, and the death of Robert Scott in July 1977.

Investigators with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, with assistance from the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), investigated the cases.

"What broke this case was the good detective work by local authorities over the years, along with the more recent help of our BCI investigators to assist in uncovering some new evidence," DeWine said. "Despite the amount of time that has passed, this suspect will be held accountable for his actions."

"We have not stopped investigating in the more than 30 years since these crimes happened, and I hope the victims can now rest in peace knowing the person responsible for their deaths will be brought to justice," Abdalla said. "Today's arrest has been a long time coming, and I am very appreciative of the support of Attorney General DeWine in investigating these homicides."

Rusnak is believed to have murdered his uncle, James Kelsie Noble, 75, and Noble's sister-in-law and caretaker, Sophie Groch Bell, 52, during a home invasion at Noble's residence on County Road 11 in Piney Fork, Ohio, on April 1, 1975. Noble was suffering from terminal cancer at the time of his death.

Rusnak is also believed to have murdered Robert Scott, 78, sometime between July 1, 1977 and July 19, 1977. Scott's body has never been found, however authorities at the time did find evidence of a home invasion and homicide at Scott's residence in Rayland.

The suspect was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at his residence on Fleet Avenue in Cleveland on Wednesday afternoon. He will be brought back to Jefferson County to face charges and is currently scheduled for an initial court appearance on Aug. 13.

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